Two Lyon College Business Teams, BusyBees and Good Fills Refillery, have been named 2023 Arkansas Governor’s Cup finalists for the High-Growth/Technology Division Undergraduate Track and Small Business Division, respectively. These teams will be presenting their final presentation virtually on Wednesday, March 16, to vie for a top spot among Arkansas entrepreneurs.
Launched in 2001 by Arkansas Capital, the Governor’s Cup encourages college students to be innovative and think like an entrepreneur. The Governor’s Cup provides an opportunity for students who are interested in becoming entrepreneurs, small business owners, or just have a business idea and don’t want to wait until after college. Students are fully immersed in what it takes to launch a startup. The rigorous work leads students to gain a much greater appreciation and understanding of the challenges real-world business owners and entrepreneurs face. Students also get constructive criticism from nearly 40 volunteer judges, most of whom are Arkansas-based, to help bolster the already impressive experience.
Both teams are made up of students in Dr. Angela Buchanan’s Business Capstone class. As part of the class, students are tasked with creating a business or product from the ground up and submitting the idea to the Arkansas Governor’s Cup competition.
BusyBees, the High-Growth/Technology Division Undergraduate Track team, is led by Christopher Burrup. Team members include Hayden Chenault, Hayden Hargrave, and Willie Lucas Jr. The High-Growth/Technology Division rewards the top three placing teams with $20,000, $10,000 and $7,500, respectively.
BusyBee is not only the name of the group, but it’s also the name of the app that they are creating and presenting.
“There are a lot of high school and college kids without the time for a full time job, but they still need money,” said Burrup. “There are also a lot of people who need different tasks done, like yard work or cleaning, but they don’t have time for or are older and unable to do them.”
BusyBee gives users a platform to post odd-jobs needing done, while other users can sign up and accept jobs to complete when they are able to. Burrup said that this allows individuals to utilize what free time they have between classes or events to create some extra income, while also not needing any specific skills to get started.
Burrup says that while they didn’t think they’d get this far, they now know their app can stand alongside the competition.
“The Governor’s Cup has teams from all different schools who present their ideas to try to have the best one,” said Burrup. “Being here shows we have a good idea and the potential value they see in our business.”
Competing in the Small Business Division, Good Fills Refillery seeks to provide a greener shopping experience according to team leader Destiny Sharp. With fellow classmates Brad Smith, Alison Boyd, Kilee Taylor, and Chloe Sharp, Good Fills Refillery seeks to win the Small Business Division which also provides rewards for the top three placements of $10,000, $7,500 and $5,000 respectively.
“Our business idea is Good Fills Refillery, a zero-waste refill store created to provide a shopping experience that helps consumers reduce their single-use plastic consumption by offering the option to purchase household and personal care products in bulk while reusing and refilling their own containers again and again,” said Sharp.
The Good Fills Refillery team created the business from the ground up by researching the concept of a “refillery” while also taking note on how currently operating ones conducted their business.
“Although it’s been a lot of work, I am pretty proud of my team for getting this far in the competition,” said Sharp. “Though, I don’t think that actually starting this business is something that is in the plans for our team right now, I do truly believe in the concept behind Good Fills and I hope that by making it this far others are able to see the importance in a sustainable lifestyle.”
On Wednesday, both teams will virtually present their business plans a second time to a judges panel for final discussion. After the presentations, teams will have to wait until Friday, April 7, to learn about final team placements at the Arkansas Governor’s Cup Award Luncheon in Fayetteville.